The shed is alive with the sound of hill-making…

April 10, 2012

I’ve decided that, whilst the shed table is clear, to get rid of all the polystyrene I could find in my house and make up some more hills. Instead of using a knife (my beloved yellow-handled Olfa) to cut and carve them, these hills will look a bit more “commercial” in appearance, so I’m using my hot wire cutter to make them: . I bought this from an art & craft shop in Prahran. It’s from Taiwan and when I bought it 8-10 years ago, cost $30. I then bought a transformer for it – that’s the black plug and cord coming out the top of the front. That cost another $30. I’ve had plenty of practice with it over the years and have drawn some conclusions about it: 1) It doesn’t cut all thicknesses of polystyrene…you’ll have trouble if you’re cutting more than 30mm thick blanks; 2) it is not rugged – the bottom metal electrode bends easily, causing the wire to slacken, so I wedge it across my hand to keep the wire taut, and that hurts my hand after some time; 3) The connection for the transformer is wonky – you have to keep wiggling the cord to get the electricity flowing, and I know it’s not the transformer, as I tested in with other electrical devices and it worked fine, no wiggling of cords needed; 4) the wire frequently comes loose off the electrodes, so every 5 minutes you have to stop and re-string it. To conclude, don’t buy this “Polyon Cutter” (as it is called on its packing). Make your own, or go buy a specialist hobby one. I know Woodland Scenics make one – if I have to do more hills in the near future, I’ll ditch this and get theirs.

Even with all the frustration, it does still make lovely cuts and there is no mess unlike with an packing knife: . I made one really big hill in two halves, as Peter and I know we need more of them: and with the last piece of polystyrene, made a second level for this hill: . Today or on the weekend I’ll sandpaper the sides to smooth where the cutter was a little erratic and sandpaper the angle where the top meets the side, so it is more rounded: . Then it will be time for undercoating with paint and a simple, flock finish – I’m not gioing to detail this hill as much as the others.



3 Responses to “The shed is alive with the sound of hill-making…”

  1. Peter said

    Half cut hills will be great for the sides of the board. Looking forward to seeing what they look like when rounded and flocked.

  2. Stephen said

    They have come along very well. Reminds me, I have some hills that need flocking and finishing! Look forward to further instalments, as you complete them.

    • Eastern Funker said

      I’m hoping these hills might be ready for April 20th, but I don’t think they will be…and they won’t be needed for that game anyway.

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